Growing up I thought I was a very disciplined and dedicated piano student until I witnessed the playing of a few of my teacher’s other students whose playing was clearly on an entirely different level from mine.
These students routinely practiced up to 8 hours a day, which made my routine of practicing 4 hours daily seem somewhat paltry.
This isn’t to say that the amount of effort we put into things is always proportional to the output but in the case of musicianship this seems generally true.
These students spent more time studying the music and practicing specific sections of it and, as a result, their playing was noticeably more polished and brilliant.
If I wanted to ascend to anywhere near the level of my peers, I’d have to double my efforts to start.
Figuring out what to do in order to get better is just the half of it.
The other part that needs to be considered is whether or not the energy we’re committing is proportional to our aspirations.
The more and/or sooner you want an outcome, the more effort you will have to pay upfront.